The Thunder agreeing to trade Russell Westbrook to the Lakers makes sense for both parties. The issue is the fact that it is nearly impossible to execute.
The aspect of the trade that makes it so difficult is the fact that the Lakers’ entire roster is filled with players they signed this summer. So, unless they wish to trade King James himself, this trade is off the table.
Westbrook and King James best of friends
Westbrook actually does wish to move to the Lakers. He and James are good friends, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The two have actually been hanging out together all summer. In fact, they seem like the best of friends.
It would be an excellent move for the Lakers to bring Russell, not just because he is good pals with King James, but also because he is simply an excellent player. But the Lakers have simply no player to offer to Oklahoma City for a trade.
LeBron had been hanging with Russell Westbrook a lot out here in LA recently. At his house, dinners, lots of time together.
Wonder if LeBron had any inkling at all PG was about to dump Russ.
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) July 7, 2019
The Thunder looking to retain Russell in the short term
Westbrook’s massive $38.5 million salary doesn’t make things easier either. Any team looking to sign him with have to offer a comparable salary or have the cap space to absorb his contract.
For you to not wanna play with the most competitive NBA player in the world makes no sense to me. He just plays the game the right way. He’s has the mindset of a NFL defensive player. @russwest44 whenever you go brotha, turn that place upside down, and grab a chip! Luv dawg
— Jamal Adams (@Prez) July 6, 2019
Detroit Pistons are interested in acquiring PG Russell Westbrook and the package that was said to be sent is Reggie Jackson, Tony Snell & 2 first round draft picks (2021 top-5 protected and 2023 unprotected), per league sources #NBASummer
— Mohamed Haji (@RealMohamedHaji) July 6, 2019
ESPN’s Royce Young reports that this time around, unlike Kevin Durant’s 2016 departure, the Thunder are comfortable to rebuild the team, rather than retooling it.
The eyes are all on Russell Westbrook at the moment, but the Thunder are open to seeing how he plays alongside Steve Adams and Gallianari. Young did add, however, that a Westbrook trade in the future still remains the “most likely” outcome.